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How to run sneak attacks?

Tue 20 Apr 2021, 07:28

Hi, I am at a total loss for how to run a sneak attack. In the Coriolis rulebook, it says that an entire group rolls for separately for infiltration when sneaking, and rolls separately for observation when being snuck upon.
You and the other PCs cannot help each other when you are acting simultaneously, that is when you are performing the same action at the same time – for example when you are trying to sneak past a guard (infiltration), or when you walk into an ambush (observation). Then you must all roll separately.
However, it also says infiltration is always an opposed roll against observation. But then it doesn't provide any rules for one group rolling an opposed roll against another. I have a couple ideas for how it could work, but the all feel... weird.

Approach 1: A group sneak attack is a series of 1 on 1 opposed rolls. A group of attackers individually picks a defender they want to sneak attack and the range they want to sneak attack at, and then each attacker rolls an opposed roll for infiltration against their chosen target's observation. If any single one of these opposed rolls fail, all the attackers are spotted, and no sneak attacks occur.
Why this feels weird: If nobody is trying to sneak attack a given character, that character has no chance of detecting the sneak attack, rendering abilities such as Third Eye useless unless someone is directly attacking you. This also scales weirdly, as it makes no distinction between trying to sneak attack a character on their own compared to trying to sneak attack a character surrounded by other people. This also doesn't work if you are sneaking nonviolently.

Approach 2: A group sneak attack is a single opposed roll using the attacker with the best infiltration pool rolling against the defender with the best observation pool, or a composite pool of the attackers' infiltration against the defenders' observation. If this opposed roll fails, all the attackers are spotted, and no sneak attacks occur.
Why this feels weird: This scales very weirdly, and feels against the developers' intentions, as the rulebook says:
If several people wish to make a joint sneak attack, they must test infiltration individually. If one or more of the rolls fail, all the attackers are discovered; now roll initiative scores normally.
so it seems like people should be rolling individually.

Approach 2: A group sneak attack is a large group opposed roll in which all the attackers roll infiltration and all the defenders roll observation, and if any defending roll is better than an attacking roll, the attackers are spotted.
Why this feels weird: This approach makes the most sense on paper, allowing every defender a chance to spot any attacker. However, it makes any sort of group sneak attack impractical in a game that already has an issue with players getting frustrated from failed rolls. A group of 5 attackers evenly matched in infiltration vs observation against 5 defenders has less than a 2% chance of success. Even if the attackers are much better at infiltrating than the defenders are at observing, rolling 12d6 each against 2d6, they have less than a 50% chance of success.

Do y'all use one of these approaches, or is there a better one that I've missed? Thanks!
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Re: How to run sneak attacks?

Tue 20 Apr 2021, 08:01

The way it’s written in T2K beta is that the person with the lowest sneak-skill (name is depending on game) rolls against the highest perception-skill which to me makes sense and this is how we’ve done most group rolls in any YZ game we play ever since Mutant YZ whatever the specific rules have said.

A summary how our train of thought:

If only one PC need to succeed for the group to benefit (like a spot check, or digging out some obscure knowledge from their old brain) the person with the highest value get to roll. If others wish to help they need to both describe how they help and have at least one point in the actual skill. This doesn’t mean the person who rolls is necessarily the person who succeeds but more of a team effort where they collectively draw a conclusion or work their way around a problem.

If only one PC need to fail for the group to be punished (hiding, running away - unless they abandon their friend, climbing somewhere they all need to go) the person with the lowest value get to roll. Same rules for help, where only PCs trained in the skill get to help.
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